Short on substance at Festigal

Festigal, Israel's biggest annual children's festival is a tremendous event marketed to young children, showcasing performances by kids and adults alike.

By AVSHALOM SHAPIRA
October 1, 2005 01:24
2 minute read.

 
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We often encounter daily dilemmas, such as the debate on whether to help ourselves to another slice of cake, or rather think ahead and watch our weight. Should we just be spontaneous and live in the moment, or should we be wise and think of the long term? This year's Festigal preview presentation at Tel Aviv's Ganei HaTa'arucha presented a similar predicament, and left little doubt that short term titillation won out over content. Festigal, Israel's biggest annual children's festival is a tremendous event marketed to young children, showcasing performances by kids and adults alike. The extravaganza features many celebrity faces and at no small fee. But beyond parading sexy Israeli TV stars across the stage, dressed in revealing outfits, Festigal continues to convey little in the way of substance. The main theme of the year is superheroes. Although it is plausible that some will see a positive message in this theme, others will undoubtedly regard it as yet another sign of the encroaching influence of American culture, in the form of the latest blockbuster film, whether it be Spiderman , The Incredibles, or Batman Returns. Where does Israeli culture step in? Should we not be imbuing our children with home-grown heroes rather than simply marketing products to them? Moreover, the theme song of Festigal is "I Need a Hero" - and this is not a translation. Must Israel's festigal have a theme song in English? Must we sell our children the image of super heroes in skin-tight outfits to cater to their already prevalent obsession with weight? On a positive note, Festigal director Hanoch Rozen does attempt to include some Israeli culture by featuring a collection of Ehud Manor songs. Indisputably, Festigal is a marketable event, designed to provide our children with an entertaining, short term experience. The complication arises when we consider quality. Although it might be effortless to purchase tickets (albeit quite expensive ones), perhaps consumers should push for a more realistic, morally-grounded, and less extravagant show, so as to infuse a home-grown, cultural appreciation in our children while we can.

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